- Two Ecuadoran girls, aged three and five, were lifted over and dropped from the top of a 4-metre-high wall marking the US-Mexican border.
- Agents monitoring security cameras along the border saw the smuggler dropping the girls from the wall in the middle of the night.
- The girls were picked up by US customs officers and taken to New Mexico to be medically evaluated, and remain in the agency's custody.
Washington – Two small Ecuadoran girls, aged three and five years old, were hoisted over and dropped from the top of a 4-metre wall marking the US-Mexican border in the middle of the night, before being picked up by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers, the agency said on Wednesday.
CBP said in a statement:
The children were taken to a CBP station in Santa Teresa, New Mexico to be evaluated by medical personnel, and then were transported to a local hospital as a precaution. CBP said the girls remain in the agency's custody.
Chief patrol agent Gloria Chavez said in a statement:
Chavez said US agents are working with Mexican authorities to identify those responsible.
Increase in migrant arrivals
"If not for the vigilance of our agents using mobile technology, these two tender-aged siblings would have been exposed to the harsh elements of desert environment for hours," Chavez said.
The US is facing an increase of migrant arrivals at the country's southern border, mostly Central Americans who say they are fleeing poverty and violence in their own countries.
Recently, there has been an average of 500 unaccompanied children crossing each day.
President Joe Biden's administration is facing growing pressure to confront the situation and criticisms about how the unaccompanied minors have been cared for while under US government custody.
According to official statistics, the Department of Health and Human Services had 12 918 migrant children in their care as of Tuesday, while CBP was responsible for the care of another 5 285.